Dec 9, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos talks with reporters during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

For Blue Jays, Trade Deadline Cannot be July 31st


Entering play tonight in Los Angeles, the Toronto Blue Jays sit at 47-44, a full three games behind the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.  The Jays early reign of over two months on the AL East has caused their recent slide to be heavily scrutinized, with fans and media alike calling for personnel changes far beyond their recent waiver-wire pickings.

Although the situation is not as dire as some fear, waiting until the July 31st MLB Trade Deadline to make an impact move on the Jays roster may be flirting with “too late”.  For Alex Anthopoulos, it is time for constructive urgency.

Each April, the Toronto Blue Jays arrive at the starting line of the AL East race driving a sensible sedan, while the rest of the division arrives in sports cars.  Each year brings about new tires or headlights to the beige four-door, but time after time, it has failed to keep pace with the new models on the track.  The mileage, you ask?  Usually just under .500.

In 2014, with the divisional powers spinning their tires out of the gate, the Toronto Blue Jays finally have a true chance.  Lost in the near-hysteria amongst Jays fans throughout the past weeks is the fact that the Blue Jays are still very much involved in the AL East playoff race.  For the first time in many years, through the storm clouds, there is reason for playoff hope.

GM Alex Anthopoulos has been linked heavily to Chase Headley over the past several days, along with infielders such as Martin Prado and Aaron Hill, among others.  On the mound, the Jays have arisen in trade rumours with everyone from David Price to the new Yankee, Brandon McCarthy.  Surely, in the midst of Anthopoulos’ record-setting “just getting a feel” calls, there has been some meaningful dialogue over the past week.  Before the Blue Jays slide any further, however, I believe that Anthopoulos should change his own trade deadline to the end of the All Star Break.

Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brandon Morrow, among others, will all be returning to full health in time to bolster the current roster down the stretch, but there is a constant risk that, when they return, they could be replacing a newly-injured Blue Jay themselves.

The constructive urgency that I believe is required from the Blue Jays front office should not only bring the addition of a quality baseball player, but serve as a wakeup call to the current roster, reminding them that the season has not been lost, and is, in fact, very much alive.  The Blue Jays have been sending nine separate batters to the plate instead of a cohesive batting order, but the team-first, win-now attitude of April and May could be re-captured by a shake up.

If Alex Anthopoulos plans on improving the Blue Jays roster, would it not be most beneficial to have this improvement in place for as many games as possible?  Obviously, some teams may be hesitant to trade at this point, unsure of their status as “sellers”, but the market has certainly begun to move.  Perhaps working against the Blue Jays even further is that every other GM in baseball should know just how eager they are to add a piece at the deadline.  This surely will not lower any prices.  However, I feel that the Blue Jays do not require a “sell the farm” level transaction, so an increased price tag may be easier to digest when discussing mid-range prospects or packages.

Over the past decade, the Blue Jays have shown flashes of possibility, and re-ignited a fan base through the R.A. Dickey and Miami Marlins trades.  These situations, however, have provided Jays fans only with the idea of a playoff run, something that has yet to enter reality or come to fruition.  If the Blue Jays are aggressive at the deadline without losing elite prospects, make a true pennant run, and still fall one game short on the final week, I would be upset, but I would also find it very difficult to be disappointed.  Toronto sports fans have become accustomed not to failure, but to mediocrity.  It seems there is almost an eager desire to discuss the annual “here we go again, Blue Jays”, as we groan away.  Alex Anthopoulos, and more importantly, the players on the field, have a chance to change this notion, and make competitive September baseball a reality for a passionate, knowledgeable, success starved, and long-owed fan base.

If Anthopoulos is able to add reinforcements, and soon, the Toronto Blue Jays may be able to race to the finish and reward their fans with a real-life playoff push.  That Blue Jays sedan, which, if I recall, was originally purchased by J.P. Ricciardi and named “5 Year Plan”, is ready for an upgrade, and there is no time like the present.

Can the Blue Jays roster that began the year with such dominance recapture their winning ways, or do you also feel that it is time for Anthopoulos to make some phone calls?  Let me know your thoughts on the impending Trade Deadline and the moves you think the Toronto Blue Jays should (or shouldn’t) make, as they try to close their 3 game gap over the next 71 games.

Tags: Alex Anthopoulos Featured Popular Toronto Blue Jays

  • Joshua Perez

    I still Believe in this team!! LETS GO BLUE JAYS!!! Let’s get the division!!

    • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

      A raise of the glass and a nod of the head to you, Joshua! With the great players already in-house, and the possibilities of additions, 3 games over 71 will be a fun ride, at the very least. Go Jays!

  • JaysHopeful

    AA has not prepared for the inevitable injuries of his players – players who consistently miss time each season with injuries (Reyes, Lawrie, Bautista, Lind, Encarnacion, Morrow, Santos, etc). So the bench for the Jays needs to be even better than some other teams. I think it might take some serious moves on AA’s part to create the depth and fill the holes that exist. At the VERY least he needs to get a SS and #2 quality SP.

    The bullpen seems to lack defined roles (I tend to credit Hentgen with effectiveness last year). There is an overuse/reliance of Loup, especially against RH batters, which will quickly make his deceptive arm-angle less effective. AA seems to be allergic to bench players. There wasn’t really a bench coming into the year. Tolleson and Kawasaki are an *almost passable* lefty/righty infield duo. (Too bad we didn’t keep/re-acquire Mike Aviles, Kelly Johnson, John MacDonald, or the like). Mastroianni appears a very poor AAA 4th OF replacement for the late-great Rajai Davis. Lind is one-dimensional and expensive, Riemold is a question mark, and Francisco is such a defensive liability that he does not seem worth the occasional dinger.

    Reyes needs to move to 2B, and the sooner the better to preserve his value and career (to fans and the organization). This will allow Lawrie to remain at 3B (Yay!). So we really need a SS. Goins ought to be playing solely SS in AAA (maybe a defensive-SS is more plausible than a defensive-2B?) Otherwise that’s where AA should be shopping. Colby looks absolutely lost, either someone needs to tell him they love him or trade him, because it’s depressing. Melky’s mobility is getting questionable in LF and his GIDP is high for the 2-spot. They could use a better receiver at 1B, which will help the infield generally. (Love me some EE, but he is too valuable for full-time 1B and doesn’t pick it *that* well).

    • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

      I will agree with your overall sentiment that the Jays often seem unprepared with bench depth for positional players. Lots of AAAA guys, but often not the necessary bats.

      Through so many years of watching Yankee / Red Sox Championship runs, when their lineup featured a “bench” player on a given night, it was still difficult to look at it as a “hole”. Great teams need a very strong 11-12, not just a good starting 9.

      And now that you say it, poor Colby really does look like he needs to be told that he is loved. I’ll have an extra laugh due to you next time I see Rasmus staring into the distance.

      If I had one wish, it might be for Lind to be a good Lefty hitter. Having just EE and Bautista (“just” sounds a bit too tragic) in the heart of the lineup puts them on a bit of an island by themselves.

      It should be an interesting week, don’t you think. When Steve Tolleson is in the 2-hole, the winds of change better be a-gustin’.

      • JaysHopeful

        “Great teams need a very strong 11-12, not just a good starting 9.” Excellently put!!

        Even if Lind could still play the corner OFs it would up his value a lot. That blank Rasmus stare… Buddy’s not even enjoying shagging flies like he used to…

        Dickey pitching on the west coast could bode well. The Tolleson has been very impressive. You gotta love Tolleson! Here’s hoping for a good one tonight.

        • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

          West Coast Dickey bode well, indeed! Phew. Haha

    • Andrew van Laar

      I couldn’t agree with the bench strength more. I think the Jays REALLY need to not overpay for a SP or a starting 2B. They need to get 2 really solid RH batters off the bench. One who is a utility IF and the other a versatile OF.

      My Ideal lineup would look like this:

      VS RH P

      Reyes SS
      Cabrera Lf
      Bautista RF
      Encarnacion 1B
      Lind DH
      Navarro C
      Lawrie 3B
      Rasmus CF
      Kawasaki 2B

      Bench

      New RH Bat IF
      New RH Bat OF
      Thole LH
      Fransisco LH
      Reimold RH

      VS LH P

      Reyes SS
      Cabrera Lf
      Bautista RF
      Encarnacion 1B
      Navarro C
      Lawrie 3B
      Nolan Reimold DH
      New RH Bat CF
      New RH Bat 2B

      Bench

      Fransisco LH
      Rasmus LH
      Lind LH
      Thole LH
      Kawasaki LH

      Now these lineups obviously depend on whos hot and who the starter on the other team is but you get the general lineup. Look at that bench depth and bats that we can call on if we added a could RH bats that you can count on to hit .250, have an OBP of .320+ and pop a few HRs down the stretch . I don’t have time to look at players who fit this bill but I think the Jays HAVE TO address the strength of their bench regarding RH batters especially above anything else to make this team a contender.

      • brad

        I have been saying this since before the season started(and I know you have too)! I think I would prefer a versatile MLB calibre player that is capable of starting though…. in addition to a single RH bench bat. There are too many platoons on this team right now to keep a consistently good bench. If it were me, I would look to send a couple of mid level prospects to the Rays for Zobrist(or to another team for a slightly less expensive version of Zobrist). Against righties you would have a real bat at 2b and against lefties you can move him over to 3b(for now while Lawrie is out), 2b, or into the OF(with Melky in CF) depending on what other bench bat is hot.

        VS RHP

        S Reyes SS
        S Cabrera Lf
        R Bautista RF
        L Lind DH
        R Encarnacion 1B
        S Zobrist 2B
        L Rasmus CF
        R Lawrie(L Francisco until he is Back) 3B
        S Navarro C

        Bench

        L Kawasaki IF
        R New RH Bat
        L Thole LH
        L Fransisco
        R Reimold

        VS LHP

        S Reyes SS
        S Cabrera CF
        R Bautista RF
        R Encarnacion 1B
        S Zobrist 2B
        S Navarro C
        R Lawrie 3B
        R Nolan Reimold LF
        R New RH Bat DH

        Bench

        L Fransisco
        L Rasmus
        L Lind
        L Thole
        L Kawasaki

        • Andrew van Laar

          Agreed! I was working on the assumption the Jays didn’t want to pay much but for sure I would like to see something like a Zobrist who can play everyday more so than my equation :) I agree, I hate platoons so much. I only see them working for the DH position where you have two players who absolutely destroy the opposite hand pitchers. Imagine if we had a RH equivalent to Lind??? Oh my word… the DH position would be hitting around .370!

          • brad

            hahaha. Remember in the offseason when Jeff baker was a free agent??…..smh. I like platoons up to a certain point…. but that point is 2 positions. You can’t have 4 positions in a platoon because it means you’re screwed in the late innings. When a righty starts against you and your DH, 2B, 3B and CF are all players that can only hit righties….. the other team needs only to bring in a lefty in the 7th to make you use YOUR ENTIRE BENCH!!…. And on top of that, any righty you bring of the bench to pinch hit vs said lefty specialist is bad against righties because they are the other end of the platoon…. a well played pen strategy and you are looking at 4 automatic outs!!!! I think they need to wait until the end of the year to truly upgrade their bench(likely via free agency) but they are going to need another starting infielder if they hope to contend next year anyways…. figure why not go after one now and take the shot this year too?

          • Andrew van Laar

            oh man… please don’t remind me about Baker. I really hope they made him an offer and he just didn’t want to come to TO. You make some really points Brad well said :) I think I am not on the lets go for it this year band wagon anymore. Unless they can really step it up the next few games, with all the injuries, bone headed plays and now Lind, I really don’t think this team has what it takes.

            On a side note, I like Gibby and think he is an average manager. However, do you think this Jays team needs a guy fire and brimstone manager who will get in there face when players do incredibly stupid things on the field? I feel like this team is wayyyyyy to lax. I am wondering with the strong Caribbean influence on the team, everyone is pretty chill and don’t take things seriously. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to stereotype, but Caribbean cultures are much more laid back. I really think they need either a set of players who don’t take crap from other players and confront them when they make mistakes or a manager who has the balls to get in their face, tell them that they sucked on that player and if they don’t smarten up they will be riding the bench the next few days.

          • brad

            I think this team needs to prove that they are one piece away before AA pulls the trigger on a move for one piece to put them over the top…. they could very well be a good team this year with a big pickup but the guys currently here need to be better first(they are only 2.5 back of the division). If they don’t, I would say go after a longer term solution

            As far as the Caribbean culture thing, I would point you towards the 1993 Jays… those of Robbie Alomar(PR), Tony Fernandez(DR), Devo(jamaica), Guzman(DR), Alfredo Griffin(DR) and Tony Castillo(VEN). I think it’s more a matter of getting players to work hard. As much as I really dislike Gibby(I did the first time, I did last year and do this year), I think the problem is that he can’t confront anyone about crappy plays with any legitimacy…. because he doesn’t have any replacements. Who are you going to threaten Melky with for not telling Reyes to slide? Gose? Pillar? who is going to push Reyes? Goins??

            At the end of the day it comes back to bench quality AGAIN!…. if only someone could have predicted this….

  • john

    Good report, well written,
    As a trade rumor junkie it is easy to get caught up in all the hype but the reality is that , yes a trade is needed for some bats. The starters are ok . Maybe some help in the pen too .
    However , there will be no wild card from the east this year .
    We have to win the divison.

    • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

      Thank you for your comment, John. Important point you’ve made about there not being a Wildcard from the East. Most years, it’s safe to set a goal of “top 2″ in the division for a playoff spot.

      Will be interesting to see if AA is tempted to add Sanchez as a bullpen arm late in the season in an attempt to bolster that facet of the club. With the bullpen, at least, there are more viable in-house options than positionally. Although, how much does that really say? Should be a very interesting week ahead.

      Glad to see Kratz is back today, at least!

  • Scott MacLean

    Beltre and price get it done

    • Andrew van Laar

      And our entire Farm would be depleted of prospects worth talking about lol.

  • JP

    Jays will not make a significant trade. Giving up one of the top pitching prospects would be incredibly stupid. A couple of minor moves that do not involve A level prospects is possible.

  • James Smith

    has nobody noticed who was missing from the lineup when the jays were on their winning streak and their record since he returned? hint he play’s center field.

    • Jay fan since 77

      Right on James. Mr. 5 tool is a complete dud. I would throw him in any deal as I am afraid he will accept a one year qualifying offer at the end of the year and we get stuck with him again.

  • cjhowardo

    The big problem, is that AA was willing to “Sell the farm” with the Miami & Dickey trades, in order to compete for the WS over a 3 year window. Now with possibly being a GOOD pitcher and 2B away from really being in the mix with the big boys, he won’t pull the trigger. Everyone LOVES the idea of a good farm system, but that doesn’t put a parade on yonge street. If the Jays can’t seal the deal here, then all the former moves were for nothing, and we gave away many of our top prospects for what? An entertaining 1st half of 2014? I am of the belief, that we should do what it takes to land those players we need. The current players that are giving us any kind of hope, aren’t going to be here by the time all these propspects that people love, are contributing for the big club. Then what? We have a couple good guys with no surrounding talent, and no way of acquiring it. Its not often you have 2 of the most feared hitters in the game. Go win now while you can.

  • Gary Kimbrel

    A couple opinions. The rotation is looking alright, but I don’t think it would hold up against the stacked rotations you face in the playoffs. The post season is all pitchers duals, and whoever gets just enough offense wins. We all want to make trades that dont gut the farm, but I really think we need a front line guy. I even think a temporary 6 man rotation would be a good idea until someone starts under-performing (Happ). Give Hutch and Stro a bit of a break. It’s too much to ask of them, on a year coming off Tommy John and a rookie season.

    We certainly need a better lineup vs lefties. Tolleson’s hitting .344 against lefties, and that has to be taken advantage of. So we need someone who’s defensively capable at 2nd and can mash righties, which means Beckham is out. Lawire at 2nd scares me, he’s breakable. Encarnacion and Lind will be out for a while, so DH needs a lefty-masher to platoon with Francisco. Or, the other thing is, we dont have a plan for 2nd for the future. So maybe the answer is someone versatile like Prado, who has 2.5 years of control and is on a down year so he might come cheapish, but only if you take on salary. And that’s the point right there. If you want to keep most of your farm, you have to pay in other ways, and then probably move some salary in the off-season.

    So this team can either make mediocre additions and receive mediocre improvements, or it can follow through with the original plan, and support the team that is built to win now. I love the idea of Price and Zobrist, but the prospect demands would be such that we’d be helping Tampa win for the next 6 years. Eating Prado’s salary would give you someone solid, versatile and controllable without entirely gutting the farm. As far a starter, I have no idea. A rental. Or maybe Cincy falls out of it and we get Latos.

    • Gary Kimbrel

      Also, Dickey, Rasmus, Navarro, Lind, Reyes all need to turn it around. This team is built almost entirely on streaky players, and I think they’ll start producing again, but who knows. I don’t think Happ’s production will keep up, but you have to ride it while it lasts, so that’s why a temporary 6 man makes sense. Cause it’ll become a 5 man again.

  • ole

    i couldn’t agree more! as a fan every morning i wake up expecting the jays to make a trade and every morning i am severely disappointed. the jays should have made a trade two months ago, they should have been the athletics or the Yankees of old. they had a 5 game lead at one point. all the other playoff teams are adding jeff samardzija. Brandon McCarthy, thatcher have all moved and what have the jays done added retreads who are nothing more than that, hell even the last place twins added kendry morales. this is not showing the fans and more importantly the players the teams willingness to win. anyone who watches baseball saw a group of players willing to sacrifice themselves for a win. this team is now dejected and either trying too hard or simply not wiling to do what it takes. cant alex anthopolous see this or does he not watch his team play.
    mr. anthopolous is in my opinion greedy with his prospects and unwilling to give up anything of note for what this teams needs because he doesn’t want to look stupid while frittering away the first chance in a long time to win the east. this is quite surprising to me since he made all those trades last year. hes at the finish line now its time to put the cherry on top and go for it. i don’t think billy beane hesitated for one second when the As made their trade and he gave up what people are calling the next alex rodriguez and he took out two starters so he could have them and nobody else could. tjhats the difference between a gm who is aggressive and one who isn’t and the As were already in first place the jays aren’t.
    the mediocrity is what we as fans and the players cant stand. if alex anthopolous doesn’t make a trade soon and a significant one he will not only disappoint all of US but team president paul beeston as well and hopefully lose his job because when someone blows an opportunity like this well it just isn’t right..
    for the record i would have traded all three whole farm teams the Dunedins. new hampshires and buffalos to get david price and ben zobrist. thankfully those aren’t the only options since there is also the cheaper options of ian kennedy and martin prada or aaron hill.

    ole

  • Trevor

    I personnally feel like we could get rid of Dickey and Thole for a younger arm in the pen Dickey hasnt lived up to potential in Toronto and his knuckleball no longer has the same movement and has become a floating homerun waiting to happen and thole is only there for Dickey and he can go with him too hes just a wasted at-bat